Why Daily Alone Time Is Critical For The Introverted Mom (and how to make it happen!)

Are you an Introverted Mom? Here are 5 easy to implement ideas for daily self-care and alone time that will change your life and increase your happiness! Fill your cup so you can pour into your family and those around you!

Hello there friend! It’s been a while, but I have something to share today that I hope speaks to your heart if you’re a fellow introverted mom.

I’ve sat on this idea for a long time because I don’t want to be perceived as “selfish,” but I KNOW that some of my readers are introverts as well and I want you to feel A) validated, and B) understand that “me time” for you is NOT being selfish; it is also non-negotiable if you want to be your happiest self and keep burn out at bay.

This is a post that is near and dear to my heart because, for me and so many other introverted moms I know, daily self-care and “me time” is the difference between being happy + content, or unhappy + burnt out.

The heart of the matter is that you need to fill up your cup in order to continue to pour into others, most importantly your children. If you’re running on empty, you’re not able to give your best self. Taking time alone isn’t being selfish; In fact, when done with this intent, it’s quite the opposite.

An introverted mom can burn out quickly and sometimes not realize why or how she got there. I knew this about myself going into my new role as a stay at home mom (who’s extroverted hubby also works at home!), and have never felt happier, which I credit largely to the routine I’ve established for us that includes daily alone time for me.

I hope that by sharing some of the things that work to keep me from feeling drained as an introverted mom and wife, you will then find ways and give yourself the permission to have the alone time you truly need each day!

But Ashley, how can I find “me time” every day? There’s just no way – my kid stopped napping, gets up at 5:00 AM, I’m a mom of 4, I work full time outside the home!! No matter how busy even the most introverted super mom among us is, I promise you that you can find a way to make that “me time” DAILY. I would argue that it’s non-negotiable if you want to feel content and happy as an introverted mom. The ideas I’m going to share with you are not ALL going to be possible to do every day, or at all depending on your circumstances, but I KNOW that it’s possible to fit at least one of these in each day even if only for 5-10 minutes. And, those 5-10 minutes will make all the difference for you.

So, how do I know if I’m an Introverted Mom?

The core of introversion can be defined by this simple distinction: you predominantly derive your energy from being alone versus from being around other people.

Being an introvert does not necessarily mean you are shy, although many shy people are introverts. Being an introvert does not mean you are necessarily self-conscious either, or that you don’t enjoy being around other people. Being an introvert doesn’t mean you don’t like to talk. Being around others and talking is enjoyable to most introverts (at least they are to me!) but definitely, drain our energy resources. Just as an extrovert feels filled up through and seeks out being around people, introverts are filled up through time spent alone.

Being an introvert just means that, in order to feel balanced and filled up you need solitude (AKA quiet, “alone time”)…daily.

Why does it matter?

Why is this important to realize, particularly as an introverted mom?

As a mom/wife/friend/etc. constantly giving of yourself to others around you have to be creative and intentional about finding the alone time you need to feel centered and re-energized.  ALL moms experience some degree of burnout from time to time, and we certainly all need to practice self-care and find space for “me time,” but for introverted mamas, this need is at a whole other level.

Before we became moms, it was easy to find ways to be alone each day, and mostly these things were naturally occurring. But as soon as our incredible bundles of joy arrive gone are the days of solo commutes, quiet time around the house, regular trips to the gym, or even trips to the bathroom or showers in some cases! We wouldn’t trade the hours upon hours of reading to, talking to, singing to and playing with our kids for ANY amount of alone time, but I don’t want you to feel guilty about missing that quiet, alone space; It’s my hope to  help you think of ways to infuse it back into your daily routine in new  ways  that fit with your busy life as a mom!

5 Self-Care Ideas for the Introverted Mom

1. Asking directly for what you need to feel refreshed.

The first and most critical piece of self-care for an introverted mama is for your partner to understands and therefore support your biological need to be alone each day, in some capacity, in order to feel centered.

Since I left my career to stay and work at home, our family situation is somewhat unique and awesome in that my husband (AJ) works from home also, so our family spends A LOT of time together. Taylor and AJ are both extroverts, and I am most certainly an introvert.

Probably THE  most beneficial thing my husband and I have ever done for our relationship is to take the Myers Briggs personality test as part of our premarital counseling.  Until then, he perceived my desire for alone time as me not wanting to be around him, which couldn’t have been further from the truth. The two are not mutually exclusive; As an introvert, in order to be a good wife and now as a mom, I NEED alone time each day, and he understands that. If your partner, especially if they are an extrovert, doesn’t quite “get it” I would recommend taking one of those tests and reading through the results together as a first step in creating that understanding. It really helped us to understand one another, and I hope the same for you.

The reason this understanding is important is that you will need to ASK your partner, or even your mom, to give you alone time.

One day per week AJ takes Taylor on a special outing and I stay home. This is something I asked him for, and he quickly agreed to do because he realized 1) this is awesome for their relationship/bond, and 2) I would benefit from time alone in our home to recharge. Happy wife, happy life right?

Ask your partner for a block of time alone, either in your home or out of your home (some intro-mamas love going and sitting at a coffee shop for 30 minutes, or even cruising the aisles of Target solo!) and explain why you need this to be the best mom and wife you can be. I bet once he sees how much happier you are, he’ll be asking YOU if you need that time!

2. Get up before your kids wake up.

Even if it is only 10-15 minutes before your earliest riser, I cannot say how much of a difference this can make. Drink a glass of water to rehydrate, think of or write down the things you are thankful for, take a shower, do 100 air squats, drink a cup of HOT coffee, or just sit on your couch and watch the news. Whatever it is and in whatever time makes sense for you, enjoy those quiet moments before your day gets going! I started this ritual after reading Miracle Morning, and I’m never turning back. Now that Taylor is waking between 7:45 and 9:00 AM, I am able to have a couple of HOURS of alone time to think, write, pray, meditate, etc. and it’s glorious.  

3. Take advantage of gym childcare.

Finding a gym with childcare we trusted has been an absolute game changer for me. Taylor loves going, and I am able to get the endorphins and solo time I need to feel re-centered!. We do this 4 days per week as part of our mommy and toddler routine! Even if you aren’t a big fitness buff, just go walk on the treadmill for an hour and listen to a podcast. I bet you’ll feel better on several levels once this is a routine! You can read more about how to fit fitness into your busy life in this post!

There are many gyms, at many different membership cost levels that have childcare.  If a gym membership isn’t something in your budget right now, but this idea resonates with you, make it a priority to tweak things or save in other areas to see if you can make it happen. There are women I work with through my SeneGence/LipSense business who get started with the goal of making enough money monthly FOR that gym membership – and then far surpass that! What difference would an extra $200, $400, or $1000+ a month make for you? If you’re interested, I can show you how to make that happen (read this blog post,  send me an email or comment on this post and we’ll chat!!

4. Take a walk.

If you have a supportive partner, have them watch your kiddo when they get home (or when you both get home if you work outside the home!) and get out for a quick walk. Listen to a podcast or your favorite playlist, or just have silent space to think and be as you also get in some exercise.

If you’re home alone during the day and have a little one who will sleep in their stroller, take a longer walk with them and (gasp!!) let them have one of their naps as you walk and enjoy some quiet, reflective time as well as the benefits of movement/calorie burn! I did this every day during my maternity leave (read about our routine at that time in this post!) when Taylor was a newborn and I swear it saved me in so many ways.

5. Hop in the bath at night.

AJ and I switch off every other night with who does the bedtime routine. Most nights I have “off” you can find me in the bathtub with a bath bomb, glass of wine and maybe a podcast or music playing. A bath, regardless of what time you take it and for how long, is one way you can care for yourself and get alone time. This is one that could actually be done daily after the kiddos are asleep. I can’t think of a reason why this wouldn’t be possible. Even if you don’t have a bathtub, you can relax in your shower for 10-15 minutes accomplishing the same thing!

I know these ideas aren’t rocket science, but that’s the beauty of them – they can all be done by almost every introverted mom on a regular basis.I sincerely hope that you start incorporating alone time in some capacity daily and reap the benefits for yourself and therefore your family!

What are your favorite ways to put “me time” into your days? Did any of mine resonate with you? I would love to hear if incorporating “me time” into your DAILY routine makes a difference in your energy and happiness levels – would you let me know?

XO,

Ashley

P.S. When I understood what it means to be introverted, I understood myself. I also read the book Quiet – and recommend anyone who is or loves an introvert – which made me feel validated and positive about this trait and the things I could accomplish because of it. I highly recommend this book to every introvert I know!

 

Modern, Family-Friendly Playroom Reveal

Modern, family-friendly playroom. Playroom Decor

Modern, Family Friendly Playroom Reveal. Clean, Chic and family friendly playroom design. Gold accents. Playroom decor.

This post includes some affiliate links. I may make a small commission if you purchase an item through my links. See the full disclaimer in my footer for details. As always, I only recommend products I actually use and enjoy. 

After completing Taylor’s Modern Nursery 2.0, my next project in our new home was to create a modern, family-friendly playroom out of the loft at the top of our stairs. It’s the first and only thing you see when you walk upstairs (which is MANY times a day in my case), so I wanted to make it both functional + fun for Taylor and her friends, but also aesthetically appealing. The result is now my favorite room in our home, and I’m so excited to share it with you today.

I linked everything I thought you might be interested in at the very end of this post!

Modern. family-friendly playroom reveal. Modern Playroom Decor.

Creating A Space For Imaginative Play + Relaxation

What are your best memories from childhood, and do you intentionally try to recreate opportunities for similar memories for your own kids?

When I think back on my childhood, I am especially grateful for memories of imaginative play with friends. Sometimes I laugh at some of the activities we came up with! I credit my friends’ and my own mom for fostering such creativity in us by providing dress up clothes, helping to construct epic forts out of pillows and chairs, and generally providing us with tools, space and freedom to create our own worlds during play time. I want Taylor and her friends who come to our house to grow up with these special, formative play experiences as well. You can read about how playtime figures into our toddler + stay at home mom routine in this post!

Modern, family-friendly playroom. Playroom Decor

Modern, family-friendly playroom. Playroom Decor

Imaginative Play + Dress Up:

Now that I am working/staying at home with Taylor, it’s been such a blessing to have a dedicated area for her to play and be creative in on her own and with her buddies. I look forward to seeing her grow into this space, make memories with dear friends, and develop her play skills over the years to come!

The Kallax bookshelf and Knipsa seagrass baskets from IKEA were great purchases, if I do say so myself – ALL of T’s toy and book storage for less than $200.  I rotate the toys, books, balls and puzzles that are in the reachable boxes about once a week, and keep a couple of them empty so that she doesn’t have too many options at once (less mess for mama to clean up!). In the upper boxes I store toys she has outgrown, and art and craft supplies I don’t want her to have immediate access to.

And, before I forget – how adorable is her Arabian Princess costume from Little Adventures Dress Ups? She has an entire trunk full of Little Adventures dress ups because I couldn’t choose just one! Her dress-up trunk is just an old ottoman I had with holes cut into it for the wooden hangers. I love it because it’s the perfect size for her to open and choose the costume and accessories she’d like to wear on her own now! When we’re all done, the trunk closes (hangers and all!) up leaving the room look clean and chic, and also allowing additional seating for when adults/guests are in the room. I pick up little accessories here and there, as well as stock it with my old costume jewelry, racing medals (“participation only” because I’m no track star), etc. I found this mirror at Target (I still need to actaully secure it to the wall!), which she and her friends use to admire themselves in costume!

Modern, family-friendly playroom. Playroom Decor

Modern, family-friendly playroom. Playroom Decor

Modern, family-friendly playroom. Playroom Decor

The Family Friendly Factor:

Another reason this room is my favorite  in our home is that when our friends (who also have little ones) come over, this Modern, family-friendly playroom makes the perfect spot for everyone to spend time together; the kids can play, sit at the table and chair set for arts and crafts or a puzzle, or chill out while watching a movie, and there is still plenty of room for the adults to sit + socialize. It’s pretty perfect, except for the fact that we have to bring up any snacks and beverages we want to enjoy while the kiddos play! We’ve joked that we should just put a wine fridge up there. Which is actually not a bad idea…but, I digress.

We do have a T.V. in the playroom because, although I’m all about the imaginative play, sometimes a marathon animated movie session is just what the doctor ordered. Also, my husband and I can also watch sports, the news, etc. while Taylor gets to play. We use one half of the media center below it as a bookshelf for Taylor, and the other side is child-locked to protect our cable box, etc.

One of the best things about having this space is that the mess/toy chaos in our house is pretty much all contained in this one room upstairs, leaving our entire downstairs living area clutter-free (for the most part)!! I try and give it a once over during her naptimes (an exercise in futility, perhaps), but often wait until the evening when she’s gone to sleep to pick everything up.

Modern, family-friendly playroom. Playroom Decor

Modern, family-friendly playroom. Playroom Decor

Modern, family-friendly playroom. Playroom Decor

A Comfy Space To Chill:

The piece that brings the biggest comfort factor into our family-friendly playroom is this daybed I found on Wayfair.com (a close second is the “Let’s Play” piece on the wall above it!)! Taylor and I often snuggle up to read books or watch a movie, or I’ll sit there working on my computer while she plays independently. The daybed also doubles as an additional guest bed (or bed for me when AJ snores too loud and I can’t sleep at night!), so we wanted to make sure we had a high quality, comfy mattress.  was contacted by Tomorrow Sleep at an opportune time to try out their Medium Soft and Medium Firm mattresses.  Tomorrow sleep makes the best hybrid memory foam mattress I’ve tried! We will probably use the twin mattress (currently on the daybed) for Taylor’s first toddler bed when she is ready to make the transition, so I’m glad we have such a quality, comfy mattress for her already!  Check out this post for my review of both Tomorrow Sleep mattresses! You can also use code MAMA150 to receive $150 off any $500 purchase from Tomorrow Sleep (expires 12/31/17)!

Modern, family-friendly playroom. Playroom Decor Modern, family-friendly playroom. Playroom Decor

Play Kitchen + TeePee:

A few other areas of the playroom I wanted to show you are Taylor’s play kitchen and reading/chill-out teepee. What I really should have done was take a camera and do a 360-degree video around the room to show you everything, but hopefully, you can get the lay of the land. Taylor’s kitchen was this white one from Teamson Kids, but I wanted the hardware to match her teepee, so I used this spray paint on all the hardware before putting it together. I also used this chalkboard paint to paint over the decal on the refrigerator door. T’s favorite part of her kitchen is the working “ice cube” (wooden block” maker! Right now she does some pretend cooking, but also enjoys dumping all her cooking pots/pans, utensils and play food everywhere. An opportunity to teach her about being a helper for clean up time, right?

She likes to sit on the round, (faux) furry rug and read her books from the book box, which I rotate on a weekly basis. Sometimes she will invite me in, but other times she is content to enjoy “reading” on her own. You can’t see it, but I also store this 6 foot, pop-up tunnel behind the teepee – it’s SUPER fun but doesn’t exactly “go” with the rest of the room : )

Modern, family-friendly playroom. Playroom Decor

Modern, family-friendly playroom. Playroom Decor

Modern, family-friendly playroom. Playroom Decor

Well, there you have it! I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of Taylor’s modern, family-friendly playroom!

Below are links to almost everything that I thought you might be interested in, but please email me or leave a comment if you’d like a direct link to anything I left off!

Modern, family-friendly playroom. Playroom Decor

Kitchen: Teamson Kids play kitchen // play food // pots/pans //faux plant // utensils // small potted plant

Furniture: Wayfair daybed // Brooke Linen sheet/duvet set (LOVE the Luxe Hardcore Bundle!) // black striped pillows // entertainment center // Eames style modern table and chair set // rug (ours is a Persian rug, straight from Iran but check out the gorgeous Persian Style rugs from Anthropologie!)

Dress-Up Area: dress up clothes // trunk (similar) // long mirror

Art: Let’s Play // Zebra

Tent: Land of Nod TeePee (comes in silver or gold finish) // round faux rug

Toy Storage: bookshelf  ($109 at IKEA!) // baskets // chalkboard (secured to the side of the bookshelf with these Command Strips!)

Miscellaneous: most of Taylor’s other toys can be found in this post!

What would you include in YOUR ideal playroom?

 

XO,

Ashley

The Ultimate Toddler Girl Gift Guide For Christmas

Toddler Girl Gift Guide. Gift ideas for a toddler.Toddler stocking stuffer ideas. Toddler Christmas Gift Guide.

Toddler Girl Gift Guide. Gift ideas for a toddler.Toddler stocking stuffer ideas. Toddler Christmas Gift Guide.

I’m SO, SO excited to share this Ultimate Toddler Girl Gift Guide with you, friends! It’s loaded with the best of the best for your little gal this Christmas. In fact, I think most of these gifts would be totally awesome for a toddler boy as well. I believe girls and boys should be exposed to and allowed to play with whatever interests them!

I do spend what is probably an unusual amount of time online window shopping + creating running wish lists for Taylor. Last year I posted a Baby Girls’ First Christmas gift guide and basically did all my shopping for her from there for the next 6 months (I actually updated that post with working links for 2017 if you have a little tiny one to shop for!).

This Christmas, at 20 months old, Taylor will really be able to play with and enjoy the gifts we get for her. I can’t wait for epic family matching pajama pictures, monkey bread minis and the light in her eyes when she opens her gifts on Christmas morning.

Of course, we are NOT gifting her all the items on this list (duh), but I wanted to give you a comprehensive guide of the most adorable, developmentally appropriate gifts out there that your toddler girl (or boy!) will enjoy this Christmas and for years to come! 

 

Now, for the Ultimate Toddler Girl’s Christmas/Holiday Gift Guide – No matter what your little girl is into, I hope you find some toddler gift-spiration here. Let’s kick it off with Stocking Stuffer ideas!

Stocking Stuffers For A Toddler Girl:

Toddler Girl Gift Guide. Gift ideas for a toddler.Toddler stocking stuffer ideas. Toddler Christmas Gift Guide.

Some great ideas for toddler stocking stuffers (boy or girl) are:

Gifts For A Toddler Girl:

1.A Cruzee Balance Bike + helmet –  I saw an 18-month-old at our local park riding one and just knew I had to add it to Taylor’s wish list! I love the concept of skipping tricycles and training wheels and teaching balance first. Adjustable seat and handlebar height allow the bike to grow with your little one for up to 3 years!

2. Doll House – A mama could go crazy over all the AMAZING dollhouses from Land of Nod, but some of the pieces are just too small for my 18-month-old. The dollhouse on our wishlist is this wooden classic by Melissa and Doug!

3. Matching Family  PJs – order these asap! The pictures and tradition are well worth the investment. We bought this Dear Deer set from  Hanna Anderson last year, and only had to update Taylor’s to a larger size for 2017!

4. Fisher Price Little People Princess figurines – SO cute!

5. Personalized Christmas Unicorn Ornament

6. Fisher Price Little People A Christmas Story Nativity Set – Taylor was gifted this last year and I know she will really enjoy playing with it while learning about the meaning of Christmas this year.

7. Tea Set with My Very First Tea Party book and Green Toys Cupcake set – I am so torn between the Green Toys tea set or this wooden one from Pottery Barn Kids that matches her playroom decor SO well…Both are simply adorable.

8. 100 Piece Wooden Train Set 

9. Cuddle and Kind – buy one doll and the company provides meals to 10 children in need!

10. Dinosaur set

11. Cute “Big Girl” undies or these amazing Unicorn Training Pants by Honest Co.- I remember “Santa” bringing me undies when I was around 8 or 9 and I was MORTIFIED at the thought! At this age, she’ll never remember and it might just be a helpful motivator toward potty training!

12. Learning Tower Kids Kitchen Step Stool With Safety Rail – this particular model comes in 7 color options. Enjoy time “cooking” with your little helper!

13. Table + chair set –  If you don’t already have a little table and chair set, Christmas might be a great excuse to purchase one. Especially paired with the table top easel, this gift can amount to hours of fun, creative play, and learning. We have the modern, Eames-esque table and chair set shown below, but here is another from Land of Nod that is super cute.

14. iPad Mini + educational apps – if you’re ready to shell out the big dough, and are not anti-screen time this may be a gift to consider. A more wallet-friendly idea is to purchase the Amazon Fire Kids Edition (7″). I bought one for Taylor on Cyber Monday on sale, but even regularly they are only $99! Here are some of the reasons why I’m loving this one:

  • The kids kindle has a 2-year worry free accident warranty versus the regular Kindle’s 90 day limited warranty. Amazon specifically states: “if they break it, return it and we’ll replace it for free. No questions asked.”
  • The Fire comes with Kindle Free Time for 1 year, which is normally $1.99 for prime members per month or $3.99 regularly per month.
  • It already comes with a rubber protective case (yellow, pink or blue), which is absolutely necessary for a toddler.
  • It’s already primed with a bunch of kid apps and books, not to mention parental controls.
  • It comes with a kid-safe browser already installed.

15.Mommy, Daddy and Me shoe sets – I am a sucker for Vans (Mommy, Daddy, Toddler) or Converse AllStars (Mommy, Daddy, Toddler)

16. Teepee + fuzzy rug – check out these ADORABLE teepees starting at $99! We have this gold metallic one in Taylor’s playroom, but check out how cute this rose gold star version is!

17. Winter sweater – this gorgeous ruffle hem sweater comes in gray and blue if you’re not a poppy color fan like I am! Paired with some little skinny jeans and cons….stop. so cute.

18. Wooden toy camera – for your little photog, and only $10.99!

19. Play kitchen + play food/accessories – We have the Teamson Kids Urban play kitchen in white, and I couldn’t be happier with it (stay tuned for an upcoming Playroom Reveal post!), but how cute is the pink version?! I am coveting these wooden appliances from Pottery Barn kids, although they are a little on the pricey side! We love all of the Melissa and Doug wooden play food and accessories.

20. Play shopping cart – for whatever reason, this is one of Taylor’s all-time favorite things to play with!

21. Play-Doh Play n Store Table – just watch for Doh going toward the mouth….

22. Magnatiles – these are a toddler must-have and definitely at the top of my list!

23. Wooden alphabet puzzle

24. Books – I love the personalizable books by I See Me, especially the “It’s ___________’s Night Night Time” book.

25. A Doll (I’m obsessing over the Friend Indeed collection!) + modern or classic crib + modern high chair

26. Art Easel and art supplies(washable paint, brushes, etc.)- if you already have a table and chair set up, this Table Top Art Easel from Land of Nod would be perfect. It has everything you need from a paper roll holder, holes for paint cups, a chalkboard and a magnetic whiteboard. It even has a folding design for storage. This is in my top 5 for T! There are also several stand-alone versions as well.

27. VTech Write and Learn Creative Center– this is one of the must-have items in our Toddler Flight Entertainment Kit!

28. Musical toys Set

29. Stringing beads – great for building fine motor skills!

30. Radio Flyer wagon or Little Tykes Cozy Coupe

31. Bowling Set

32. Dress Up clothes and accessories – we absolutely adore the Disney inspired (and other!) Little Adventures Dress-Ups (starting at 24.99 per costume) but you can also shop second-hand stores for all kinds of accessories and costumes to fill up your little gal’s dress up box!

33. Microphone – if you have a budding entertainer on your hands, this is a must!

34 Hape tool bench and tools

35. Trampoline with handlebar

36. Golf set

37. Melissa & Doug Wooden Puzzles

38. Shape sorter

39. Drums – Taylor ruined punched a hole through both bongos on this adorable Watermelon Drum set, but it was one of her favorite toys EVER so I’m adding to the top of my list for her.

  1. Do you give gifts for the holidays? What’s on your list? 
  2.  

     

     

 

Pin this list of toys that will grow with your toddler for all your holiday shopping, birthday gifts or “just because” surprises. 

Toddler Girl Gift Guide. Gift ideas for a toddler.Toddler stocking stuffer ideas. Toddler Christmas Gift Guide. Toddler birthday present ideas

A Toddler Diaper Bag Packed To Perfection

Everything you need to pack in a Toddler Diaper Bag. Toddler diaper bag essentials for a mom and her toddler.

Everything you need to pack in a Toddler Diaper Bag. Toddler diaper bag essentials for a mom and her toddler.

Thank you to Coco & Kiwi for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and any affiliate links are to products I actually use and like.

Everything you need to pack in a Toddler Diaper Bag. Toddler diaper bag essentials for a mom and her toddler.

The last time I posted a “what’s in my diaper bag” style post, Taylor was only 7 months old. Time has absolutely flown by….Now that she is 18 months I want to share what’s in our Toddler Diaper Bag. I keep my Toddler Emergency Car Kit and a Toddler Restaurant Kit in the trunk of my car which  contain many of the things I would otherwise have to worry about grabbing on the way out the door or lugging around in my already full diaper bag (i.e. bib, utensils, first aid kit, change of clothes, etc.). If you haven’t already, and  have or will soon have a toddler, definitely check out those two posts!

Everything you need to pack in a Toddler Diaper Bag. Toddler diaper bag essentials for a mom and her toddler.

Why I Love The Coco & Kiwi Provence Bag

I have gotten more compliments on this Coco & Kiwi Provence Diaper Bag since I started carrying/wearing it, mostly from girls at my gym who are non-moms actually! As a Coco Ambassador this season, I had the option to choose my favorite bag; it wasn’t even a question which I’d choose.  I adore the classic, chic sandstone stripes paired with the camel colored leather of the Provence Bag. Aside from how cute and stylish it looks, I wanted to share a couple of my favorite features with you – game changers I don’t know how I didn’t look for in a bag sooner:

1) detachable stroller straps,
Everything you need to pack in a Toddler Diaper Bag. Toddler diaper bag essentials for a mom and her toddler.
2) the bag can be carried as a clutch, over the shoulder/messenger style, or as a BACKPACK! If you couldn’t tell by all caps, I’m definitely loving the diaper backpack option these days, running around after my toddler.
Everything you need to pack in a Toddler Diaper Bag. Toddler diaper bag essentials for a mom and her toddler.

Everything you need to pack in a Toddler Diaper Bag. Toddler diaper bag essentials for a mom and her toddler.
3) The ingenious zip-in wet bag. I use mine for opened snacks!
Everything you need to pack in a Toddler Diaper Bag. Toddler diaper bag essentials for a mom and her toddler.

You can check out this and all of the stylish Coco & Kiwi Diaper Bags and accessories here.

What’s In My Toddler Diaper Bag?

Everything you need to pack in a Toddler Diaper Bag. Toddler diaper bag essentials for a mom and her toddler.

FOR TODDLER:

  1. 2-3 Diapers – if your toddler still wears them which, at 18 months, Taylor does.
  2. Wipes – I love Water Wipes travel packs because they are all natural, and can be used to clean little ones’ hands and faces as well!
  3. Sanitizing Wipes – the Wet Ones Sensitive Skin canister makes for easy packing as well as pulling out wipes to sanitize shopping carts, restaurant tables, etc. quickly.
  4. Snacks – did you know that when your baby becomes a toddler you then become a snack peddler? I keep a variety on hand at all times because, at this age, T is starting to really exert her independence through making her preferences known!
  5. Comb and hair ties/bows – because, #girlmom.
  6. Changing pad – a burgundy colored changing pad, which matches the lining, comes in the Coco & Kiwi Diaper bags, and it is actually long enough to accommodate a growing toddler bod!
  7. Wet bag – this is another convenient feature of the Coco & Kiwi Diaper bag. The wet bag zips in and out. I personally use it to store opened + unfinished snacks!
  8. Diaper bags + dispenser – I am obsessed with the Munchkin diaper bag dispenser. Okay, maybe not obsessed, but I do own 5!
  9. Kleenex – toddlers tend to need nose wiping every now and again, and it’s nice to have these on hand when a runny nose occurs. These travel packs are the cutest I’ve found – it’s the little things : )
  10. Mini first aid – I only carry bandaids in my diaper bag because I have a mini first aid kit in my fully loaded Toddler Emergency Car Kit (which includes this AWESOME portable potty for you potty training mamas!)
  11. Sunglasses
  12. Water bottle – sometimes I will just bring my adult sized version of this bottle and share with Taylor but, again, these days my toddler likes to have her OWN things!
  13. A small toy that she is reallllllly into – at this moment, Peppa Pig!

Everything you need to pack in a Toddler Diaper Bag. Toddler diaper bag essentials for a mom and her toddler.

FOR MAMA:

https://cocoandkiwi.com/?aff=30

  1. LipSense Lip Gloss I literally do not leave the house without at least one of my LipSense glosses (Matte, Glossy or Bouganvillea), whether I’m wearing the lip color or not. LipSense is a kiss-proof, smudge proof, waterproof lip color that lasts up to 18 hours – talk about a busy mom MUST HAVE! The gloss is the only thing you need to reapply a couple of times throughout the day to keep your lips moisturized and your color it’s staying power.  LipSense has been a game changer for me as a new, busy mama: if nothing else, I walk out the door with tinted moisturizer and LipSense on and feel pretty + put together! I loved this stuff so much that I became a distributor myself, at first for the discount but now I have another stream of income for my family because of it! If you’re interested in learning more or placing a LipSense order – check out my Taylor-made Beauty Facebook Group (lots of sales and fun giveaways!), and my In-Stock Album and Order page.
  2. Gum
  3. Feminine products
  4. Phone
  5. Sunglasses & Eyeglasses
  6. Phone Charger – a must since becoming a mama/responsible for someone else besides myself!
  7. Wireless headphones
  8. Lifetime Athletic Gym card – I can’t insert the praise hands emoji through Word Press, or else I would. Adding this element into our toddler and mom weekday schedule has been a game-changer, sanity saver, etc.!
  9. Hand sanitizer
  10. Wallet (I linked the BEST price I’ve seen for this classic LV wallet!)
  11. Protein bar – not pictured because I literally ate it an hour before taking the pictures for this post
  12. Keys
  13. Pen

To access the printable Toddler Diaper Bag Essentials Checklist use this link or just click on the image below.  As a subscriber, you can access and download this and any of the other printables from my website by going to the Printables Library Page and entering the password I emailed to you when you subscribed (if you can’t find it, just email me at ashley@taylor-mademama.com and I’ll re-send!).

Everything you need to pack in a Toddler Diaper Bag. Toddler diaper bag essentials for a mom and her toddler.

What are your toddler diaper bag must-haves

 

 

 

 

 

Other Ta[y]lor-made Mama posts you may be interested in:

 

Toddler Schedule + Routine For A Stay At Home Mom


Are you a stay at home mom of a toddler looking to add more structure, routine and “me time” into your weekdays?  A work at home mom who wonders how to get everything done in the day? New to the stay at home mom club and need more routine in your daily life? A mama thinking about making the transition from working mom to stay and/or work at home mom? Or perhaps you’re just curious about what Taylor and my routine looks like these days (the last updates I gave were this one when I was on maternity leave and this one when I was still nursing/pumping at work!).

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then this post is for you.

Before I jump into our toddler and stay at home mom routine, I feel compelled to write something straight from the heart :

Recently, I had a conversation with a long-time friend. She shared that, through following my journey from working to stay/work at home mom over the last year or so, a fire was lit beneath her to leave her own VERY successful career to start a business working for herself + stay at home with her two little ones.  And, guess what? She has made it happen for herself and her family! I couldn’t be more happy for my friend who had a vision of a different lifestyle and, despite any fears and hesitancies, followed her heart and went for it.

In turn, her story stoked MY fire to encourage women who may be in the same place I found myself a year ago – a heart being pulled toward being at home, yet also with the fear of uncertainty of letting go of a career and identity outside the home.

If this resonates with you right now, please know that I get it. I’ve been there, and I can tell you that I do not regret the decision for a minute. The moments I get to share with Taylor EVERY DAY now, even the hard ones, outweigh anything I could be accomplishing at work. Do I continue to think about what the future of my career may look like as I did a few months ago when I left? Sure, those thoughts still cross my mind…

BUT, here is the evolution in my thinking:

There is always someone who can do my/your day job (maybe not as well, maybe just as good, maybe even better) but there is NO ONE who can be YOU to your child. If you want to be at home with your baby, and it is possible for your family, don’t be afraid to make the big transition because, “the days are long, but the years are SHORT.”

Remembering this always brings me back to a place of content with the decision we’ve made. Fortunately/strategically on my part, between this blog and my LipSense business, I’m finding ways to satisfy the creative, social AND entrepreneurial sides of myself WHILE getting to be at home with Taylor and focussing on my family.

The last few months have truly been the best of all worlds for me, and I would LOVE to chat with you if you have any specific questions about my journey or what I’m up to these days if I don’t answer them within this series(or heck, if you want to join my LipSense/SeneGence team even!).

If you haven’t yet read the first post in this series, How To Rock The Transition From Working Mom To Stay At Home Mom, I encourage you to go back and read that first. In it, I discussed my newly minted stay at home mom response to the question, “what do you do?” as far as work, and finding confidence in however you choose to live your own #momlife.

Working Mom to Stay At Home Mom Update #2

This brings me to another question (or variation of) I’ve been asked many times since becoming a stay at home mom is,

“So, what do you DO all day now?”

That’s actually a really good question, and one I felt super nervous about in the weeks leading up to the transition from working to stay/work at home mom. I was SO used to a jam-packed, tightly scheduled, daily routine that the thought of open-ended days gave me a ton of anxiety. Full disclosure, I remember crying the week before I was finished with work, for many reasons, but mostly because I just couldn’t picture what my new days and weeks would look like.

I wanted to do this stay at home mom thing well and didn’t want to lose myself in the day to day mom-ing/home-making or waste days sitting around watching cartoons with Taylor…. As it turns out, I have spent several days with Taylor sitting around doing mostly just that- and I’m totally okay with it. In fact, I’ll take those extra snuggles any day of the week.

Having a predictable schedule and routine is important for you/your sanity and your toddler. However, it is also important to be flexible and adjust according to your little one’s (or your!) needs on a given day. Moods happen. Things come up. Kiddos and mamas get sick. Naps are dropped. Structure without rigidity is key!

Structure without rigidity is the key!

Weekday Toddler Schedule and Stay At Home Mom Routine

That said, I wanted to share what a typical weekday for this stay at home mom and her 18-month-old toddler looks like. I work best when I time block (as you can see in my admittedly OCD Google Calendar below), and I hope it’s helpful to see what typically takes place during each block:

7 AM – Taylor wakes up and plays with her stuffed animals and reads books in her crib for 15-30 minutes while I “wake up”. One of the goals I have for myself is to start getting myself out of bed at 6AM in order to build in a little more me/work time before the day begins. I’m SOOOO not a morning person though, so we shall see how that goes….any tips?

Stay at home mom schedule and routine for a toddler

7:30 AM – AJ or I (my hubby works from home with is AMAZING) get Taylor out of her crib, change her diaper,  and bring her into our room to drink her bottle (yep, still drinking a bottle of milk in the AM + PM) while we watch the news/I get ready for the day. Most days I just put on some tinted moisturizer, my LipSense color o’ the day, curl my eyelashes and that’s about it. I can’t usually get Taylor downstairs without making a pit stop at the playroom, so we play there for 15-20 minutes before breakfast. Conveniently, the laundry room is connected to that room so I can start on or fold a load of laundry as she enjoys!

Stay at home mom schedule and routine for a toddler

8:30 AM – Taylor eats breakfast and I drink coffee and check emails. Her breakfast is anything from a banana + oatmeal, to a bagel, egg + raspberries. At this point, she is able to request her favorite foods which is so amazingly cool!

9:30-11:30 AM – Monday through Thursday (again, not EVERY Monday through Thursday because flexibility is key!) we go to Lifetime Athletic Club within this time block. Joining this gym is hands down the best decision we made as a family when I quit working and we moved to a new city. Their childcare facility, programming, and staff are absolutely phenomenal and Taylor LOVES going there. While she participates in toddler art or music class, I get to workout for an hour or so. This time is SO good for both of us; she gets to develop her independence and play skills while I get to maintain (maybe even increase!) my fitness and sanity, win-win! I always bring a snack for us to share outside the gym when we’re finished up. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see that I often document our “conversations” during this time that has come to be a special tradition between she and I.

On Fridays during this time block, we go to the local library for a Mommy & Me developmental play hour which is super fun for Taylor, a little stressful for me (because she is literally the Energizer Bunny + Tazmanian Devil in this environment), and overall great for her development. Anything for T.

11:30 AM – When we get home from the gym, I make lunch for Taylor to eat before she goes down for her nap. Her lunch is usually leftovers from the night before, a toddler approved Green Smoothie, Annie’s Mac and Cheese (no shame in my game!), plus some fruit and water.

12-2 PM – Naptime, glorious, naptime. Although T’s naps have been hit or miss over the last few weeks, she typically naps for 2-3 hours a day. During this time I shower, work on blog-related stuff and/or my Lipsense/SeneGence business, start or finish a load of laundry, and (somedays) clean one room of the house. I create a prioritized “to do” list for each naptime block at the start of the week and get as far as I can through that day’s list, bumping unfinished business to the evening “Task” block or to the next day. Obviously, this system gets WAY backed up when Little Miss decides to boycott her nap/s, but I digress…

Stay at home mom schedule and routine for a toddler

2-4 PM – This is the time we either A) get outside of the house to play (if I have an errand to run that day, we’ll go on the way home), or B) play indoors and incorporate a learning/developmental activity. This may be a trip to the park or zoo, going outside in our backyard to play with her water table or playhouse, artwork or another craft in the kitchen (this art smock is a must, and under $5!), a make shift “fort” in the living room, or up to her playroom to “cook,” in her kitchen  or play with her toys and dress up clothes. 

Around 4:00 I offer T a snack whether we are at home or out and about. Her favorites these days are gummies, protein + fiber bars, and Goldfish.

http://bit.ly/2z0ZiJH

6-7 PM – I begin preparing dinner around 6:00. While I’m prepping for dinner AJ (the hubs), Curious George, Peppa Pig or Daniel Tiger babysit for Taylor, and we eat together around 6:30 PM.

7-8 PM – Almost every weeknight Taylor takes a bath, and then we go through her bedtime routine. Since I’ve been at home with Taylor, my hubby and I have been switching off every other night with who is “in charge” of the bedtime routine. On my nights off, l usually take a bath with my favorite bath bomb and enjoy some “me time.” This time is so critical, especially on the nights when I need to put in evening work to catch up on or create something for my businesses.

9-11 PM – This is the time where I (usually) try and get things I didn’t get done earlier in the day done. Although, many nights all I do is enjoy a glasses of wine (or 2 or 3) and a crime show with my hubby on our comfy couch. Those are the best weeknights of all : )

I would love to know what your stay at home mom routine  and toddler schedule looks like. I love getting ideas from other mamas like you! How is it different than ours? How is it the same?

XO,

Ashley

How to create a low stress daily routine for a stay at home mom and a toddler schedule

 

Everything You Need In A Toddler’s Emergency Car Kit

What to pack in an emergency car kit for a toddler. Be prepared for any emergency

What to pack in an emergency car kit for a toddler. Be prepared for any emergency

Do you have a toddler car kit stocked with everything you would need in case of emergency (i.e. forgotten diapers, sudden need for a potty break, stuck in traffic, car wont’ start,  flat tire, etc.)? Do you lug around a huge diaper bag full of everything under the sun in case of emergency and want to lighten your load? If you answered yes to either question, then this post is for you!

Taylor and I were out and about the other day when she needed a mid-shopping diaper change. I realized I didn’t have a diaper in my diaper bag – TOTAL #momfail. Then I remembered the Baby Car Kit I keep for her in the trunk of my car (this also happens to be one of this blog’s most popular posts to date!). Relieved, we walked to the parking lot for her change. Much to my chagrin, I realized it had been quite a while since I’d updated her kit, and the diapers I had in stock were a size too small. Although I was able to squeeze her into the diaper until we made it home and I wouldn’t necessarily categorize this as an “emergency” situation, it did remind me that our original emergency car kit needed a little updating.

So update I did, and here is exactly what is you need for an emergency car kit, fit for a toddler.

Everything You Need In A Toddler’s Emergency Car Kit What to pack in an emergency car kit for a toddler. Be prepared for any emergency

Here is a list of everything you need to pack in an Emergency Car Kit for your toddler to keep them fed, changed, happy and entertained in case of an unpredictable situation (or if you just don’t feel like dragging a big ole diaper bag around with you everywhere!). I pack all of this in this bin + lid from Tar-jay – it’s less than $10 and fits all our supplies (minus the portable potty) perfectly!

What to pack in an emergency car kit for a toddler. Be prepared for any emergency

        1. Water bottle with a spout (at least 1) to  keep both you and your tot hydrated.
        2. 3-4 diapers
        3. Wipes – I keep my wipes in a lined, zippered bag like this one so that moisture doesn’t escape over time (especially when it’s hot!).
        4. Non-perishable snacks like Annie’s gluten free oatmeal bars or these Sprout Power Pouches.
        5. Disposable diaper bags + dispenser –  I have these Munchkin bags and dispensers in my diaper bag, daycare bag and car kit.
        6. Diapering creams
        7. Roll of toilet paper – if you’re in the potty training stage, this is critical, along with this portable potty (scroll down for more details).
        8. 1-2 activities/toys – I always keep 1-2 books and an activity that could consume my toddler’s attention for the maximum amount of time possible. This Magnetic Curious George Set is perfect for the car and developing imagination, and T loves it!
        9. Travel first aid kit  – you could, of course, put one together yourself, but I chose to buy http://bit.ly/2xKe7PVthis one from Target for $6.49.
        10. Sunscreen  – my favorites are this spray version and  pure mineral sunscreen face stick from Babyganics.
        11. Changing pad  – the one pictured here is sold out, but this is a great option on Amazon Prime + only $6.
        12. Hand sanitizer – I have one of these Babyganics hand sanitizer pumps in our change table caddy, nursing station basket and in the emergency car kit. I like this brand because it is alcohol and paraben free, yet 99% effective in killing germs.
        13. Tissues
        14. Spare outfit (socks, pants, shirt) – I keep a t-shirt and pants that are 1-2 sizes too big so that I do not have to think about updating the spare outfit every couple of months because – growth spurts. The Cat & Jack line at Target has super cute T-Shirts for between $4.50 and $6.00  (both short and long sleeved depending on the seasons you’re in/entering).
        15. 2 gallon Ziploc bags
        16. {NOT PICTURED} Lightweight blanket – I keep a swaddle blanket by Aden & Anais in the car in case it gets chilly.
        17. {NOT PICTURED} A Restaurant Kit – create a Restaurant Kit with all the essentials you need to reduce the stress of dining out with little ones and keep it in your trunk. I have actually been bringing the Airplane Entertainment Kit in the car lately because it’s so packed with things to keep T busy.
        18. {NOT PICTURED, but a MUST HAVE} Potette portable travel + training potty – I don’t yet have this portable potty because we haven’t started potty training at this point, but it is already on my Amazon shopping list for later. My best friends both have this in their cars and it’s come in incredibly handy on numerous occasions. You can actually be out and about during potty training because it can be adapted to any toilet seat OR you can just plop in on the ground anywhere you are and the disposable liners catch everything. Genius, right?!

      everything you need to pack in an emergency car kit for a toddler

      What to pack in an emergency car kit for a toddler. Be prepared for any emergency

      To access the printable Toddler Emergency Car Kit Checklist use this link or just click on the image below.  Print it, shop with it, then keep it in your kit to make sure you’re always stocked up. As a subscriber, you can access and download this and any of the other printables from my website by going to the Printables Library Page and entering the password I emailed to you when you subscribed.

      What to pack in an emergency car kit for a toddler. Be prepared for any emergency

      Is there anything I’m missing? What other ways do you keep your car organized and prepared for your little ones? Let me know if I’m missing anything in the comments on this post and I’ll happily update my kit + this post.

       

       

       

      P.S. This post is part of the Packed to Perfection Series. Each post (including one of my most popular – “What To Pack In A Carry-On To Entertain A Toddler On An Airplane”) includes tips for what to pack and printable checklists to make sure you don’t forget anything. It’s hard enough remembering what to pack for yourself, right?!  I like to print my checklists, laminate them and keep them in my bags/suitcases/kits so that they are right on hand and I can keep track of what needs packing, refilling, etc.

      Other Ta[y]lor-made Mama posts you may be interested in:

      What to pack in an emergency car kit for a toddler. Be prepared for any emergency

What To Pack For Travel And Vacation With A Toddler (and what you can expect!)

Be prepared for any trip with a toddler! Free Printable Packing List for Traveling with a Toddler (and a packing list for moms too!) + what to expect when taking a vacation with a toddler. This list is a must-have when you’re packing for a vacation with a toddler! CLICK THROUGH TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE! Toddler packing list | new mom | first time mom | travel with a toddler

Top tips for how to pack for travel and vacation with a toddler, without all the stress! Including a FREE printable packing checklist for toddler and mom!

Now that you have a toddler, the word “vacation” has a whole new meaning. From keeping your little one entertained during car or airplane travel to packing ALL of their belongings into one suitcase, travel sure does become more tricky with a toddler in the mix.

Travel with a toddler doesn’t have to be stressful, but it does take a lot of thought and planning to make sure you get everything your family needs packed and stay (at least somewhat) organized once you arrive at your destination. Vacation is meant to be relaxing and rejuvenating.

Of course, it won’t be the same care-free time as it was pre-baby, but it does not have to be stressful.  

We just survived got back from our first family vacation since Taylor officially entered Toddler-dom.  Although we took several trips with T when she was under 1 year, flying across the country and spending two weeks in several different locations with our Energizer Bunny was an entirely different ball game.

As usual, I spent a lot of time brainstorming beforehand and reflecting afterward on ways to make my/your #momlife easier and take some of that mental load off of you, mama (because I don’t know of many dads responsible for packing for both himself and the kiddos, am I right?).  

To that end, I want to share a few things you can expect when traveling/vacationing with a toddler, a total Mom Must Have for packing and keeping ALL the things organized, free printable packing lists for you +  your toddler, as well as a few family photos from our vacation.

This post is part of the Packed to Perfection Series. Each post (including one of my most popular – “What To Pack In A Carry-On To Entertain A Toddler On An Airplane”) includes tips for what to pack and printable checklists to make sure you don’t forget anything. It’s hard enough remembering what to pack for yourself, right?!  I like to print my checklists, laminate them and keep them in my bags/suitcases so that they are right on hand when it comes time to pack for a trip. I hope you find the vacation packing checklists for both Toddlers and Mamas from this post useful the next time you are getting ready to travel with your tot.

If you are traveling by plane, make sure you check out THIS POST and printable checklist to make sure you have everything you need to pack in a carry on bag to keep your toddler entertained during the flight! If you are going on a vacation where the pool or beach will be involved, make sure to check out THIS POST and printable checklist as well!

Without further ado…

Be prepared for any trip with a toddler! Free Printable Packing List for Traveling with a Toddler (and a packing list for moms too!) + what to expect when taking a vacation with a toddler. This list is a must-have when you’re packing for a vacation with a toddler! CLICK THROUGH TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE! Toddler packing list | new mom | first time mom | travel with a toddler

4 Things You Can Expect On Vacation With A Toddler

  1. Sleep and nap schedules can and will go out the window… and your little one will be just fine.  Time change + jet lag (especially if you’ve made a long journey), excitement, new faces + environments, general overstimulation and even F.O.M.O. can all be cause for your little one to miss naps, stay up late, wake up earlier than normal, and just generally be off schedule. I learned that this isn’t the end of the world, and worrying about it only serves to increase your stress and decrease the vacation vibes.Your tot WILL get back on schedule when you get home and back to your regularly scheduled programming, I promise.
  2. Reframe your mindset from taking a “vacation” to taking a “trip”. A trip, which is what you’ll be on, is definitely a memory-filled experience, but it may not include laying out in the sun for 3 hour stretches with your beverage of choice, pausing to take and post one of those obnoxious bottom halves of your legs in the foreground + ocean in the background pics ( #guilty). If you are pining for the duty-free vacation days of old, you’ll feel disappointed and like you need a “vacation after the vacation,” so it’s best to get in the mindset of making it a memorable trip with the fam. Unless of course, you have # 3 going for you…
  3. Traveling with Grandparents, friends, and family can make “vacation” with a toddler feel like an actual vacation. If you can plan a trip with friends and family included, I would highly recommend it. It takes a village, right?  I cannot explain how wonderful it was to have my parents and some of our closest relatives around to A) spend time with, and B) help to entertain/care for Taylor. If it weren’t for the help of family, I know I wouldn’t have come home feeling as relaxed as I did. Taylor pretty much played with her cousins from sunup to sundown, which was so sweet to watch. Thanks to the generosity of my parents, AJ and I were even able to sneak away for a date night in Charleston while she enjoyed some special time with them. You could even plan a trip with other couples with little ones and trade off on nights in/date nights!
  4. Your tot is going to have a blast! No matter where you are, what you do,  or even what you forget to pack, YOU are providing an amazing experience for your little one that they are going to love. Enjoy every precious, energy-filled moment.

Pack For Vacation With A Toddler Made Easy!

The EZPacking cubes made packing for and then accessing ALL the toddler things upon arrival at your destination so, well, “EZ”! I purchased the Starter Set (one cube in each of the four sizes) a year ago, and was gifted another set for this trip – Thanks, EZPacking! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways… I could go on about EZPacking all day long, but I’ll just give you the top 4 reasons why you MUST have these packing cubes for your next vacation (Plus, you get a 15% discount with code TAYLORMADEMAMA!):

Top tips for how to pack for travel and vacation with a toddler, without all the stress! Including a FREE printable packing checklist for toddler and mom!
EZPacking Starter Set in gray.
Top tips for how to pack for travel and vacation with a toddler, without all the stress! Including a FREE printable packing checklist for toddler and mom!
2 weeks worth of toddler gear -easily packed!
    1. Transparency. I love that the EZPacking cubes are clear. I can easily see the outfits, accessories, diaper cream, etc. that I am looking to find for myself or Taylor.
    2. If you are going to be traveling between several different places, the packing cubes make it so easy to get comfortable and organized quickly. Even if we’re only staying somewhere for a couple of nights, putting things away and getting my suitcase out of sight just makes me feel more relaxed and at home. Throw the cubes into the bedroom or bathroom drawers and you are all set; everything is still in the same place it was at your last stop.
    3. The cubes can be packed to utilize the entire height of the suitcase – so, no wasted space! 
    4. EZPacking cubes come in several different colors (black, green, pink, blue and gray – orange is currently sold out), which is perfect for mamas packing for more than one child and sharing a suitcase. You could even have older children pack their own color cubes. I used a black set for myself, and a gray one for Taylor:

Be prepared for any trip with a toddler! Free Printable Packing List for Traveling with a Toddler (and a packing list for moms too!) + what to expect when taking a vacation with a toddler. This list is a must-have when you’re packing for a vacation with a toddler! CLICK THROUGH TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE!

  1. What To Pack For Vacation With A Toddler:Top tips for how to pack for travel and vacation with a toddler, without all the stress! Including a FREE printable packing checklist for toddler and mom!

    These are the vacation packing lists I use to pack for Taylor and I.  I tried to include all the essentials a toddler and their mama would need.  “Other” lines are under almost every category within the checklists so that you can add any additional, specific items you need to pack. Please let me know in the comments if there are any glaringly obvious things I left off! Click here or just click on the pictures below to access, download and print copies of the Mama and Toddler packing checklists:

    Top tips for how to pack for travel and vacation with a toddler, without all the stress! Including a FREE printable packing checklist for toddler and mom!

  2. Top tips for how to pack for travel and vacation with a toddler, without all the stress! Including a FREE printable packing checklist for toddler and mom!

    Our Vacation + Travel With Toddler Must Haves:

    • EZPacking Cubes – see above!
    • Travel Sized Downy Wrinkle Release Spray – I roll when I pack in EZPacking cubes because it saves more space, and this spray helps in a pinch when I don’t have access to or time for ironing!s
    • J by Jeep Umbrella Stroller – this lightweight stroller is super easy to travel with and handles surprisingly well, even on the cobblestone streets in Charleston!
    • Portable Crib – although we borrowed a crib from my cousin this trip, we typically travel with our Baby Bjorn portable crib unless we are staying at a hotel which guarantees access to a crib (just make sure to bring your own sheet!). 
    • Bags for your stroller and car seat if you’re traveling by plane.
    • Boxed organic milk – no refrigeration required. You can buy a 12 pack on Amazon and take a few with you for car or airplane travel when refrigeration isn’t convenient or possible.
    • Wet Dry bag – I pack all of Taylor’s suits and sandals in the wet dry bag, and then use it for pool/beach trips if we are going on that sort of vacation. I can’t get enough of these Skip Hop wet/dry bags.
    • Portable Snacks – Taylor’s fav snacks (that include protein) are these Sprout Power Pouches.

     

  3. I hope you find the things I did to plan for, used during and learned along the way on vacation with a toddler help make your next vacation an enjoyable experience for your whole family – including YOU! 

 EZPacking has kindly extended a discount for my readers.  Enter code: TAYLORMADEMAMA15  at checkout for a 15% discount!


  1. P.S. A few of our fav family vacation photos (July 2017)

    (Charlotte, North Carolina + Litchfield Beach and Charleston, South Carolina)

Be prepared for any trip with a toddler! Free Printable Packing List for Traveling with a Toddler (and a packing list for moms too!) + what to expect when taking a vacation with a toddler. This list is a must-have when you’re packing for a vacation with a toddler! CLICK THROUGH TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE! Toddler packing list | new mom | first time mom | travel with a toddler

The Transition From Career Mom To Stay At Home Mom

How to rock the transition from working mom to stay at home mom.

Whether you carry the title of “Mom” exclusively (“stay at home mom”) or are a “working mom” outside or inside the home, it’s rare that anyone truly sees or gives you credit for ALL you do in your role as a mom.  

You don’t add “Mom” to your resume because the results you’re producing can’t be quantified, even though it’s the most important title you’ll ever hold.

You’re indispensable (the boss!) but there is no corresponding salary, nor performance bonuses to cash in on.

You’re really good at this motherhood thing; you are constantly honing your craft, but there isn’t a career ladder to climb or promotions to be given.

You punch in for this job, but you NEVER punch out…

So, especially as a stay at home mom, how do you respond when you’re asked the question,

“What do you do?”

Before I get into how I’ve been answering that question lately, let me first say that (45 days in) I do not have a single complaint about the stay at home mom life. It is a privilege and a blessing, and it is the life I chose. While there are certainly effects of this major change worth mentioning (and writing future posts on!): financial adjustments,  shifting responsibilities and dynamics in our marriage, acclimating to a new home and town, finding “me time” when I’m an introvert at home all day with two extroverts, etc., life is good. I go to bed each night excited that I get to spend the next day hanging out with my girl. I’m not missing anything. My husband is amazing, supportive and works incredibly hard and well to support our family. This lifestyle, this (at least mostly) undivided time…I’m living my dream and I’m so, so grateful.

Side Note: I  find the “stay at home mom” and “working/career mom” labels obnoxiously pigeonholing and misleading but I’m still going to use them here for sake of clarity; I think we can agree that ALL moms are full-time moms, and stay at home moms do a lot more than just stay at home.

We’re all just doing what we feel is best and what works for our families – and a darn good job at that!

From Career Mom To Stay At Home Mom – Update #1

Something I realized during the initial transition period from career to stay at home mom, and not something I’m super proud of admitting, is just how much of my identity is tied up in how other people perceive me based on what I did/do. 

I know a job title, salary or anything else external does not define my worth, but on more than one occasion I found myself responding almost apologetically to the question about what I do sayin something like, “I’m just a mom right now, but I used to…” I reference my previous occupation as if it increases my standing in the eyes of the person who asked; I add words as if they add value – as if being “Mom” is not enough. 

I don’t assess others (especially moms) in this way, I know that being a mom is one of the highest callings + most demanding jobs out there, and I was very confident in my decision to put my career on pause and be a stay at home mom, so my words and reaction came as a surprise. Maybe it’s that I felt competent in my profession, but I’m still getting my footing and confidence in this all day mom/homemaker thing.  Maybe it’s the subconscious influence of the society we live in, undervaluing what we do as moms and overvaluing productivity/money-making/achievements. Whatever it is, I felt the tug of my pride, and a wrong thinking showed itself in need of correction.

How to rock the transition from working mom to stay at home mom.

Confidence & Worth As A Stay At Home Mom

Fortunately, motherhood has a beautiful, humbling, refining quality when we reflect upon and act out of the experiences we have along our journeys; Oftentimes this brings a reminder of a simple, deep truth like it did in this instance for me – no matter what we do part time, full time, inside of the home or outside of it, we are defined by who we are.

Not by the title you have or someday wish to hold.

Not by what you do or don’t do.

Not by what you have or haven’t accomplished.

Not by accolades or criticisms from others, and certainly NOT by the amount of money you earn or don’t.

True worth has nothing to do with the external, and everything to do with the internal and unseen – the “who” you were created you to be, the person you are in this world. As moms, we ALL struggle with thoughts that we aren’t enough, that we aren’t contributing enough to our family financially or time wise, or that we’re just generally not doing things right.

Well, I’m here to tell and/or remind you that you alone are absolutely enough and that – as long as your kids are loved, safe and mostly happy -there is no wrong or right way to “mom”.  Feel good about doing what feels right to you and works for your family.

YOU are a gift to your family and this world and you should have every confidence in the person and Mom that you are. There is nothing else you need to prove to anybody.

As for me, I will continue to pour my talents, heart, soul, mind, and skills into my family and raising our precious daughter without the time + mental commitments to another job for this season of life. There will be times in the future when I use my gifts toward other ends and maybe even pick up where I left off with my career, but my current path is “stay at home mom” to Taylor.

That is enough.

I am more than enough.

My role as Mom is invaluable.

The same is true of you.

So, the next time I’m asked what I do, with shoulders square and the confidence and pride ALL mamas should have, I will simply say, “I have the privilege to be a Mom.”

When you’re asked, “what do you do?” how do you respond? Could you relate to any of the thoughts I shared in this post as a working mom or stay at home mom? I would absolutely love to hear from you. 

This is the first in a series of posts on the journey into SAHM life and this big transition for our family, so stay tuned + make sure to subscribe if you haven’t already.  Do you know a mama who could use this encouragement? Please share this with them! 

Update: Check out the next post/update in this series HERE!

Other Ta[y]lor-made Mama posts you may be interested in reading:

How to rock the transition from working mom to stay at home mom.


How To Entertain A Toddler On A Plane – Travel Tips + A Free Printable Checklist

The thought of flying with a toddler with an attention span as short as they are cute for the first time (or anytime) can be downright intimidating. Taylor had flown with us before, but not since she became mobile and A LOT more active/aware.  In preparation for our family vacation to South Carolina, I spent a lot of time tapping the brains of all my been-there-done-that mama friends, “researching” on Pinterest, and brainstorming ideas to compile the perfect carry on bag to keep my toddler entertained and happy on a cross country flight.  Guess what? Our 4.5+ hour flight with a 15-month-old went off with far less stress than I envisioned – sans iPad/electronics or spending a ton of money – so I want to share what we packed, how we packed it and tips for a successful travel day with a toddler based on this experience.

Bonus – the in-flight kit I created has served as a both a car and restaurant entertainment kit while we’ve been on vacation as well! I hope you find this post useful when packing a carry on bag to keep your toddler AND you entertained and happy during your travels. If you have an infant, check out this post to see how we packed for one of Taylor’s first flights/vacations featuring our absolute, must have packing cubes by EZPacking.

If you’re packing for an upcoming vacation, you NEED to snag some of these.

Make sure to download and print the FREE printable checklist at the end of this post (or click the photo below)!

 

How to entertain a toddler on a plane flight

Let’s start with the bag:

I snagged this mesh tote at Target for $9.99 (!!!) and think it’s a perfect carry on because A) they have it in 8 colors, B) it’s durable but mesh, so you can easily see and grab for anything you might need in-flight, C) it can be used as a beach bag upon arrival if you’re taking a beach vacay, and D) did I mention it was only $9.99!?

What’s In The Bag (and how it all fit!):

 

  1. In-Flight Entertainment Kit – I included a section below with all the details on what’s inside this cosmetics case turned toddler entertainment kit. I use this same bag (in this floral pattern) for my Baby/Toddler Restaurant Kit as well because it’s a perfect size and has tons of storage space!
  2.  A lightweight swaddle blanket to put over your toddler if/when they nap. Airplane cabins can get chilly!
  3. Tote Savvy Mini Insert – Stocked with 4 diapers, pack of wipe, disposable diaper bags/dispenser, changing pad, hand sanitizer, lip gloss, wallet, keys, etc.  I pop this in and out of pretty much all my bags so that we always have the essentials on hand and organized. Check out this post for exactly what and how I’m packing my Tote Savvy for a toddler diaper bag these days.
  4. A zippered pouch (this one from Target is only $4.99) to carry a copy of your little one’s birth certificate (most airlines require proof that your toddler is under 2 years old to qualify as a “lap infant”) and headphones for if and when your toddler naps. I stored this pouch in the front pocket of the mesh tote bag for easy access during our travels. I love my beautiful rose-gold, wireless headphones from Sudio – you can snag a pair for 15% off here using the discount code TAYLORMADEMAMA.
  5. Puffs (AKA toddler crack).  I keep these on hand pretty much at all times. We only buy the Happy Baby organic brand.
  6. Empty water bottles for mama and tot  – Fill them up once you’ve cleared security. I store the water bottles in the outer pockets on either side of the tote bag.
  7. 1-2 tried and true favorite books and 1-2 new books having to do with their interests, airplane travel or their destination; I suggest Richard Scarry’s A Day At The Airport, and Amazing Planes.
  8. Spare outfits for you and your toddler.
  9. A novel toy set like this one with a wooden fire engine theme. Check Target’s Dollar Section – I swear, they have the most amazing toys/activities for travel purposes on the super cheap! After I already had everything together for this trip I found mini felt board sets which would be PERFECT for the kit! There is a set of 3 felt story boards on Amazon right now that I’m considering ordering to our beach house for the return flight (another Amazon Prime membership perk!). This magnetic block set would also be a great option.
  10. Packing tape to tape up a box for your car seat if you’re bringing it with you. We had a short wardrobe box as that was the only box that would fit the dimension of our beloved car seat (Maxi Cosi 70 Convertible – on sale for only $199 right now on Amazon!!). We also brought a roll of bubble wrap to line it with. You can also check it in one of these nifty car seat backpack style bags – either way, the goal is to prevent damage. We ended up making a game time decision to put our car seat in our travel stroller bag and forego the box altogether!
  11. An Etch a Sketch, MagnaDoodleor LCD drawing tablet.
  12. Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad (Adventure, Playhouse, Farm or Vehicles and Habitats)

Taylor’s Top Entertainment Pick…


Number 11!!!! Although she LOVES to color, I can’t freely give Taylor crayons or other drawing instruments because, at 15 months old, she cannot be trusted not to try them out for flavor… so, introducing this off-brand etch a sketch during the flight was a total win-win.  There are more expensive versions with lap pads and sound features that would be great for car travel, but this one fit the bill for function, size and the quiet factor. Taylor played with this for nearly an hour of the flight (cumulative), so I would say the $19 price tag was well worth it.  As I was writing this post I noticed that right now it’s on sale for Amazon Prime members for only $10.65! Don’t have a Prime Membership yet? Get a FREE 30 Day Trial here ( I PROMISE it’s worth it – most things on this list are Amazon Prime eligible!). There is also a cute set of two miniature drawing pads like this if you’re packing for more than one little. One of my besties recently showed me her kids’ LCD Writing Tablet like this one which is only $29.99 on Amazon.com for Prime members and an even better option than the traditional etch a sketch.

What’s In The In-Flight Entertainment Kit (# 1):

This cosmetics case is the PERFECT in-flight entertainment kit bag.

Left side = snacks, utensils, wipes, box of organic milk, bib, etc.

The Left Side:

When all else fails, snacks (and a big variety of them!) will be your tantrum tamers on a flight. In the left side of the in-flight kit I packed a ton of snacks I knew she would love: Annie’s organic gummy bunnies, fruit roll ups and cheddar bunnies, fruit + veggie pouches, a variety or bars, 2 milk boxes, a travel set of utensils (LOVE these by OXO!), a Green Sprouts wipe-off bib with a pouch (the best, and so easy to fold up!_, and individual hand and surface sanitizing wipes by Babyganics.

 

Right side = toys, art supplies, flashcards, etc.

The Right Side:

Basically, I raided our local party supply store and the Target dollar bins to stock up on a ton of fun little toys, stickers, flashcards and other packable items that I knew Taylor would be interested in. I brought them out one by one, or let her pick, whenever she began to lose interest.  I actually had WAY more than I needed, so I’m happy we’ll still have some novel entertainment for the return flight and/or restaurant trips on vacation! I’ve heard of parents also wrapping individual toys and letting their kiddo open them up one by one to add to the time/excitement.

A Speech Pathologists I worked with recommended these Busy Baby cards to work on language development. Taylor loves looking at the cute little images and hearing me talk about what she is seeing (i.e “this baby is holding a cat and wearing a hat!”). I definitely recommend any toddler mama to pick up a pack.

What I’ll Pack Next Time:

Although our trip went smoothly, of course,  I’m already thinking about how to make our mom lives even less stressful. Here are a couple things I didn’t bring with us this time, but likely will for the next trip based on our experience:

Snack and Play Travel Tray (top rated on Amazon.com) – good for plane, car or train travel!

A portable, foldable high chair like this one that I almost bought on Prime Day this year! It could easily fit in a carry-on. Fortunately, we were visiting family who let us borrow us their daughter’s old Pack and Play and high chair for this trip, but in the future, we will want to bring those ourselves. The portable crib we have, use and love is this one by Baby Bjorn.

Now, onto my top 10 tips for traveling & flying with a toddler…

Top Tips For Traveling/Flying With a Toddler:

  1. Check the TSA and your airline websites well in advance of your flight for their rules and regulations regarding travel with children under 2 years old.
  2. You can bring your own milk or juice in a cooler like this one,  but you may have to go through a full on TSA check. One option is to wait until you get through security and buy a milk box from Starbucks (these do not require refrigeration). Some airplanes will have milk depending on the airline and time of day, but if you care for it to be organic, you’re likely out of luck. I think the best option is to bring no refrigeration needed, easily portable milk boxes with you. When we arrived at our beach house, I ordered another 12 pack of organic whole milk boxes for the rest of our travel as we will not always have easy access to a fridge/milk.

3. Put your little one (if not already potty trained) in overnight diapers for the flight initially so that they don’t need to be changed as soon as they would in a regular diaper. Leaky diapers are fun for no one. Make sure they are in comfy clothes with shoes that are easy to slip on and off; we opted for Natives and they worked like a charm – definitely our new fav toddler shoe!

4. I know it isn’t always possible with logistics, but try to plan your flight time around your toddler’s nap if possible. We booked a SUPER early flight which was painful at 4:30 in the morning but worth it to coincide with Taylor’s daily nap. We enjoyed watching the movie Lion while she snoozed.

5. I know screen time isn’t for everyone, and to each their own, but if you allow it this suggestion is for you. Download shows from Netflix, Xfinity, etc.  and age appropriate apps onto your iPad or laptop. This will, hopefully, occupy your little one and buy you and your fellow passengers some quiet time. We had technical difficulties and weren’t able to utilize this option on this flight. Luckily, Taylor slept for nearly 2 hours of the flight but if she hadn’t we really would have missed out on having this entertainment option.

6. Bring empty water bottles in your carry on and fill them up at the airport once you’ve cleared security.

7. Invest in a  travel/umbrella stroller and umbrella stroller bag. Previously, we traveled with our  Baby Jogger City Select, but it was just too big and cumbersome with all the other luggage we needed to bring with us. This J by Jeep umbrella stroller is easy to fold open and closed and really compact. It also has a UV. You can check the stroller at the gate right before you board, but make sure to ask the desk attendant at your gate for a tag asap.

8. Walk the aisles if you sense that the native/s are getting restless and it is permitted by the captain. Generally, other passengers are going to want to see that cute little toddler’s happy face when they get to get up and move around the cabin. The walk will give them a chance to check out this new environment and distract them from being confined to a seat. If anyone has a problem with it (or your toddler crying for that matter) then that is their own issue – but truth be told, #momshaming can be real on flights!

9. Arrive to check in for your flight early, call ahead, or both to ask for an extra seat if possible. Generally, airlines will go ahead and reserve a seat when a “lap infant” is flagged on the manifest and keep it if the flight is not full. The extra seat makes diaper changes, and the whole flying experience, a lot easier! By the way, this article by USA today does a great job of breaking down how to deal with how to change a diaper during a  flight!

10. My last, but number one piece of advice would be to prepare and pack as well as you can beforehand, but then try your best to relax and go with the flow because, as we all know, toddlers certainly cannot be predicted!

I truly hope there is at least one piece you can use to make your #momlife less stressful when planning and packing for your next family vacation!

Now, click here or just click on the picture below to access, download and print a copy of the packing checklist:

Be sure to check out the other posts in my Packed to Perfection Series – I’ll be including free downloadable packing lists for each! Print, laminate (this laminating machine is $19.97 on Amazon.com – woo hoo!), stick the list in your bag to reference, and stop worrying about forgetting something every time you head out the door!

What other posts would you love to see in this series?


Other Ta[y]lor-made Mama posts you may be interested in:

How A Baby Changes Everything

This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Although they are little, babies sure can create BIG change in our lives.

From the day Taylor was born until today SO much has changed for us. If you follow us on Instagram you probably already know that we moved to our new home/city last weekend and that in about a month I will be leaving a 10+ year, successful career to stay home with Taylor. If interested, you can read more about that decision HERE. The reason for mass amounts of change in a relatively short timeframe? An itty, bitty newborn baby who has grown way too quickly into an {almost} full blown toddler.

Our move represents the incredible way that a baby can change your internal + external priorities and reality…

Before and even during pregnancy, I thought I wanted to be a working mom of 1 child only, and my hubby and I had our life planned accordingly. We certainly didn’t think that, within a year of T’s birth, that we would reorganize our financial and physical life in order to allow me to stay at home with her. Nor did we imagine we would search for a home that would be able to (hopefully, someday, no I’m not pregnant) accommodate another baby! But, as I am sure you have experienced in your own way, a baby can be quite the catalyst for change.

As we packed up the home we spent our first year as a family in I couldn’t stop thinking of all the memories we made in those rooms and how much growing we all did in different ways. However, I’m super excited for this new chapter in our lives. It will be one with undoubtedly less “me time,” but filled with so much more “us” time and for that, I’m incredibly grateful.

Luckily, through all of the change, Carter’s has us covered.  Taylor has grown up in their zip-up playsuits (hello, easy diaper changes!) and I may or may not have spent WAY too much money during their Memorial Day sale on tons of the cutest swimsuits and outfits for Taylor’s summer.  Carter’s has compiled some of their most classic, tried & true styles (including the zip-up playsuits) to comprise the Little Baby Basics Collection.

Little Baby Basics baby clothes are sized newborn through 24 months. As your baby – and you –  go through all the changes (and growth spurts) involved in the first 1+ year of their life this is a line of baby boy clothes and baby girl clothes that you can count on for consistent quality, affordable prices, comfort and – very importantly – cuteness! I mean, look at the elephant detail…those pant ruffles… *sigh*

The Original Body Suits from the Little Baby Basics Collection, like the ones Taylor is shown wearing throughout this post, are must-haves in any baby wardrobe. They are sold (for incredibly reasonable prices) in packs of 5 coordinating patterns + designs which also makes them an adorable baby shower gift.

Carter’s has offered a generous coupon to my readers, available now through July 4th, 2017. With this coupon, you’ll receive 20% off their already great prices if you spend $40 or more, in store or online. Stock up for now, later or even a future baby shower gift:


Not sure where your local Carter’s store is? You can find the nearest store by clicking here.

Happy Shopping and remember to savor each and every moment with your little one/s – it flies by too quickly not to!

Other Ta[y]lor-made Mama posts you may be interested in:

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